After much anticipation, A Slice of Bronzeville opened two months ago. The restaurant stands at the corner of 47th & King Drive, across from the Harold Washington Cultural Center and Peach’s Restaurant. Its scarce décor, dim lighting, and exposed pipes are reminiscent of “locals-only” coffee shops, but the ever-present smell of tomato sauce and cheese make it clear that we are certainly in a pizzeria.
My friend and I order a veggie pizza without mushrooms and sit down. The R&B music in the background combined with the all-black furniture creates a classy and intimate atmosphere—it would make a sweet study spot during less busy hours. But now, it’s lunch time, and they’re at their busiest, with visitors coming in for individual slices (available all day), full boxes, drinks, wings, and UberEats deliveries. While we wait for our pizza, two patrons in two different booths start chatting, and as another gets up to leave, the owner, Patrick White, asked her how she enjoyed her pizza. She said she liked it, but it was a little too saucy. Mr. White calls to an Andrew in the kitchen and notes the “too much sauce” before returning to our informal interview.
White begins by explaining that he wanted to be the very first pizzeria in Bronzeville—a pioneer—and give the community its own landmark pizzeria. Although he doesn’t have specialized training for pizza-making, he has been in the restaurant business for more than a decade. For him, it’s the crust and the sauce that makes or breaks a pizza.
Originally from Beverly, White moved to Bronzeville fifteen years ago, during the demolition of public housing amid the chaotic and ultimately failed execution of the Plan for Transformation. He moved out shortly after arriving, but has now returned to the neighborhood to open the Slice, which he hopes will fare better in the neighborhood than the past several businesses that have come and gone like H-Dogs, Uncle Joe’s Jerk Chicken, and Vinnie’s Steak House. White is optimistic about the future of the Slice, which he said has thus far been extremely well-received in the area, and is grateful for all the support. Neighbors have come to tell him that they will “do anything they can to help [the pizzeria] stay here.”
Although they have only been around for a short while, they also seem well-grounded. White has nine employees who work at the Slice, all of whom like him are Bronzeville residents. In a few weeks, they will start offering delivery services. Since opening, they have hosted one private event and plan to be a family-oriented restaurant where people can host other small events in such as graduation parties, baby showers, or anniversary celebrations.
Most of the feedback they receive is word-of-mouth and has been mostly positive. A fan-favorite is the classic sausage and cheese pizza, but they also offer more unconventional menu items such as Jerk Chicken and Chicken Philly pizza. The wait time is around thirty-five to forty minutes, but totally worth it: all ingredients are fresh, and each pizza has just the right amount of melted cheese and a soft, crispy crust.
Perhaps it is a little too saucy for some, but for us, it was absolutely perfect.
A Slice of Bronzeville, 4655 S. King Dr. Tuesday-Thursday, 11am-10pm; Friday and Saturday, 11am-midnight; Sunday, 12pm-6pm; closed on Monday.
Nur Banu Simsek is a contributor to the Weekly. She is originally Turkish, but came to Chicago from Fairfax, Virginia. She studies philosophy at the University of Chicago and works at the Spiritual Life Office. Her favorite spots to study on the South Side are Build Coffee and Currency Exchange Cafe. This is her first piece for the Weekly.